If you care about the gold rush sweeping Brooklyn and you haven’t been listening to WNYC’s There Goes the Neighborhood podcast…well, you must be living under a rock (or maybe in Tribeca). The eight-episode capsule podcast, hosted by The Nation‘s Kai Wright, is required listening. From studying landlord and developer tactics to understanding people’s complicated relationships with their homes and neighborhoods, it goes beyond the constant stream of tenant harassment cases to really try to make sense of the historical and social context around the recent developments in the changing the city.
Crime + Community
We all remember when superstorm Sandy plunged the East Village into darkness after a 14-foot storm surge caused an explosion at the ConEd station (in fact, there’s a movie out Friday set during that very historical moment in 2011). Luckily, we haven’t seen any storms of that scale since, but Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t taking any chances. Today he announced more funding for the city’s climate resiliency plan as part of the 2017 city budget. The waterfront plans aren’t just going to protect Manhattan from more flooding– they’ll also double as a huge new public space.
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The ink has barely dried on the special election for Sheldon Silver’s 65th district state assembly seat and we’re already sprinting towards the general primary in September. Less than a week after Alice Cancel won a controversial election for the seat, Jenifer Rajkumar, a Democratic district leader in the financial district, officially threw her hat in the ring and announced her campaign for the position.
Have you seen the man in the above video?
Police believe he accosted a woman in her apartment building near Stanton and Pitt Street. The attempted rape happened Saturday around 3:20 p.m., when a man, thought to be in his late teens, rode the elevator with the 24-year-old victim, stepped off on her floor, and then groped her, pushed her against a wall, and fondled her. The man followed her to her apartment but took off when he discovered someone inside was answering the door, the police say.
The suspect is thought to be 5’2” to 5’4” and about 130 pounds.
This is the first Passover in 90 years without Streit’s Matzo in operation on Rivington Street. So what do you do if you get hungry after seeing the new documentary and art exhibit dedicated to the bygone Lower East Side matzo factory? Don’t get tsuris. The Museum at Eldridge Street is offering a taste of the old neighborhood via its Passover-week “Matzo Tours.”
In 2013 Mayor Bill De Blasio was voted into office with pledges to reign in police violence and stop-and-frisk policing targeted at blacks and latinos. (Remember that emotional video about needing to have stop-and-frisk conversations with his son, Dante?) And since he took office, street-stops have continued on a downward trend–there were about 24,000 stops last year, a far cry from the peak of 685,000 in 2011 under Bloomberg.
Many were surprised to find that, despite the wave of Bernie media attention, he buckled under the quiet, pragmatic Hillary voters hiding in plain site. For the most part, HRC prevailed easily in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. The East Village was as divided as we expected it to be, with Hillary faring better in Alphabet City than she did further west. Meanwhile Bernie won Greenpoint by a landslide, and there’s now a new dividing line in Bushwick (North Bushwick went to Bernie, South to Hillary).
More than 100 Chinatown residents and their supporters crowded onto the sidewalk in front of 83 and 85 Bowery yesterday afternoon, marching around the block and gumming up traffic. The rally was part of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown’s ongoing effort to draw attention to tenant harassment cases and push for height limits and rent stabilization in the neighborhood.
Bernie Sanders supporters showed up in droves today at the candidate’s Brooklyn rally, undeterred by the nippy cold weather and wind gusts that sent even the NYPD tugboat off of Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park a’bobbin (perfectly in-synch with the pump-up soundtrack’s reggae rotation, I might add). The mood was elated as the Brooklynite presidential candidate prepares to battle it out with Hillary Clinton for New York state delegates, a fight set to go down on her (sort-of) home turf less than two weeks from today.
Democratic District Leader Alice Cancel picked up two more endorsements today in the run up to a special election on April 19 to replace Sheldon Silver’s seat in the New York State Assembly. Both Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, downtown councilmembers, said Cancel was the right choice for the job.
“Alice knows the community, she knows our schools, she knows our small businesses, she knows about public housing and she’s worked with the tenants,” said Chin in her endorsement. “She’s a district leader that works with the elected officials. When there’s a problem in the community, she calls them.”
Public officials are demanding, in louder and louder voices, to know why and how the city quietly allowed a Lower East Side building once reserved for non-profit use to be turned into luxury housing. Today, local politicians gathered to push for stronger transparency and oversight, to prevent it from happening again.
The former schoolhouse at 45 Rivington was operated by VillageCare as an AIDS/HIV treatment facility, under a deed restriction established in 1992 that limited the building to non-profit usage. Since the HIV crisis has dimmed in the Lower East Side, the facility was no longer needed at capacity. At the end of 2014, VillageCare sought to sell it to a for-profit nursing-home operator, Allure Group, with local officials’ understanding that it would remain some kind of medical facility for the general population, likely for the many seniors in the neighborhood.
On Easter Sunday, the basement of Evergreen Baptist Church looked more like a karaoke bar than a typical congregation: Yellow and red lights illuminated the darkened room, and a big screen played music videos with lyrics blasting across it. People in the audience sang along, sometimes standing up from their seats and exuberantly waving their arms to the beat.